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ABTA calls on UK government to scrap Covid tests for majority of travellers | Planet Attractions
     

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ABTA calls on UK government to scrap Covid tests for majority of travellers

Covid PCR testing should be abandoned for most holidaymakers, says travel organisation Abta




New summer foreign holiday bookings for 2021 were down 83% on 2019   Credit: Isaac Struna on Unsplash

ABTA - the trade association for tour operators and travel agents in the UK - has said that Covid PCR testing should be abandoned for most people travelling abroad.

According to ABTA, fully vaccinated travellers should not need to be tested on their return from low-risk Covid countries, with the organisation also calling for a “significant overhaul” of the UK’s existing traffic light system for overseas destinations.

Because of new restrictions put in place by the government and because of current uncertainty over travel right now, data collected from ABTA members shows that new summer foreign holiday bookings for 2021 were down 83% on 2019.

Additionally, almost half of travel companies also reported no increase in 2021 bookings compared to last year, despite the rollout of the vaccine programme.

Of the holidays that were booked, 58% with departure dates in July or August this year had to be postponed or cancelled.

Currently, travelling abroad from the UK means taking a private COVID test on return to the UK. The majority of test providers have been charging upwards of £60 per person for a PCR test and £30 for a lateral flow test. The government has warned more than 80 of these providers over misleading prices. It’s widely believed that this additional expense is discouraging people from travelling overseas.

“With more than 80% of eligible UK adults already vaccinated, ABTA says the time has now come to put in place a stable framework for international travel; capitalising on the success of the vaccine rollout by making the individual risk status of the traveller a cornerstone of future travel policy,” said ABTA in a statement.

“The government should use the strategic review of travel requirements to end the traffic light system and instead treat all destinations as open by default, retain a short red list only for the management of known variants of concern, and end the widespread use of PCR testing by removing the need for fully vaccinated travellers to do any COVID-19 test on their return from lower-risk countries.”

With the British government due to review the requirements for international travel by 1 October and furlough to end this month, ABTA has written to transport secretary Grant Shapps and the chancellor Rishi Sunak to share its latest evidence. It has also outlined the changes needed from October’s review to get people travelling again and kickstart the industry’s recovery, as well as repeating calls for tailored financial support to “recognise the unique challenges travel has faced” and help businesses through the ongoing crisis.

“The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade - putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk,” said Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive.

“While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were subject to expensive measures which have stood in the way of people visiting family and friends, taking that much-needed foreign holiday and making important business connections.

“The Government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery.

“The dire summer season also means the need for a package of tailored financial support – extending the furlough scheme for travel businesses and a dedicated grant fund – remains paramount.

“No matter how many times Government may try to claim it has supported travel businesses, there has not been a penny of tailored support for travel agents or tour operators, with many missing out on essential funding.”


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Opinion In depth Video LIVE
ABTA calls on UK government to scrap Covid tests for majority of travellers | Planet Attractions

news

ABTA calls on UK government to scrap Covid tests for majority of travellers

Covid PCR testing should be abandoned for most holidaymakers, says travel organisation Abta




New summer foreign holiday bookings for 2021 were down 83% on 2019   Credit: Isaac Struna on Unsplash

ABTA - the trade association for tour operators and travel agents in the UK - has said that Covid PCR testing should be abandoned for most people travelling abroad.

According to ABTA, fully vaccinated travellers should not need to be tested on their return from low-risk Covid countries, with the organisation also calling for a “significant overhaul” of the UK’s existing traffic light system for overseas destinations.

Because of new restrictions put in place by the government and because of current uncertainty over travel right now, data collected from ABTA members shows that new summer foreign holiday bookings for 2021 were down 83% on 2019.

Additionally, almost half of travel companies also reported no increase in 2021 bookings compared to last year, despite the rollout of the vaccine programme.

Of the holidays that were booked, 58% with departure dates in July or August this year had to be postponed or cancelled.

Currently, travelling abroad from the UK means taking a private COVID test on return to the UK. The majority of test providers have been charging upwards of £60 per person for a PCR test and £30 for a lateral flow test. The government has warned more than 80 of these providers over misleading prices. It’s widely believed that this additional expense is discouraging people from travelling overseas.

“With more than 80% of eligible UK adults already vaccinated, ABTA says the time has now come to put in place a stable framework for international travel; capitalising on the success of the vaccine rollout by making the individual risk status of the traveller a cornerstone of future travel policy,” said ABTA in a statement.

“The government should use the strategic review of travel requirements to end the traffic light system and instead treat all destinations as open by default, retain a short red list only for the management of known variants of concern, and end the widespread use of PCR testing by removing the need for fully vaccinated travellers to do any COVID-19 test on their return from lower-risk countries.”

With the British government due to review the requirements for international travel by 1 October and furlough to end this month, ABTA has written to transport secretary Grant Shapps and the chancellor Rishi Sunak to share its latest evidence. It has also outlined the changes needed from October’s review to get people travelling again and kickstart the industry’s recovery, as well as repeating calls for tailored financial support to “recognise the unique challenges travel has faced” and help businesses through the ongoing crisis.

“The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade - putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk,” said Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive.

“While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were subject to expensive measures which have stood in the way of people visiting family and friends, taking that much-needed foreign holiday and making important business connections.

“The Government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery.

“The dire summer season also means the need for a package of tailored financial support – extending the furlough scheme for travel businesses and a dedicated grant fund – remains paramount.

“No matter how many times Government may try to claim it has supported travel businesses, there has not been a penny of tailored support for travel agents or tour operators, with many missing out on essential funding.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2021